This one has been on the agenda for a long, long time, but I could never quite get it right. For the longest time, I tried to make it like the homemade (sugar free) dark chocolate – which is to say, dairy free, made with coconut oil, sweetener and a flavor, but the absorbent, bonding quality that cocoa powder served as in the dark chocolate was more important than I anticipated.
When it came time to figure out sugar free white chocolate, I tried to combine coconut oil and cocoa butter as the base (cocoa butter is the base of all white chocolate; white chocolate doesn’t actually include any chocolate), but that produced a really hard brick of fat that would probably have served very well as some kind of moisturizer. But not as food.
The secret ingredient, as it turns out, is milk powder. My sincerest apologies to those with a lactose allergy and/or my vegan readers, but I promise you I did my absolute best to find a way to make this without either powdered (cane) sugar or milk powder. It turns out it is one or the other. So milk powder it was. It’s a bit of an unusual ingredient, but it is worth tracking down. I used Now Foods organic nonfat milk powder, which you can get online. You can probably use full fat milk powder instead, if you can find it.
I know I’m not alone when I complain that most commercial white chocolate is sickeningly sweet, so I made a point to use the bare minimum of sweetener in this one. Feel free to reduce the sweetener, but don’t increase the granulated sweetener – I can’t explain it precisely, but the fat will only suspend so much granulated sweetener and 2-3 Tablespoons seems to be the limit – so if you want it sweeter, you may want to use drops of liquid stevia to sweeten the chocolate instead.
Also, the finer your granulated sweetener, the better it dissolves. I used my trusty Norbu, the grains of which are a little larger than is ideal for this recipe, so I pulsed mine in the food processor several times so that it would distribute more evenly throughout the chocolate, rather than gathering in a gritty mass at the bottom of each chocolate. (There is still going to be a little bit of separation in some of the chocolates near the end of the batch, but if you stir periodically as you’re pouring the chocolate, that helps minimize the effect.)
Because this chocolate is so pure, and contains no emulsifiers or gums to hold its shape, you have to freeze it before you bake with it. Take it out of the freezer immediately before folding it into the batter, then pop whatever you’re baking in the oven immediately. Freezing it gives the chocolate a snowball’s chance in hell (literally) of holding its shape during the baking process, because it will take longer to heat up to its melting point (ideally, it will take longer to get to its melting point than it will be in the oven, preventing it from liquefying and absorbing into the batter). Plus, if you want to drizzle some white chocolate on top of a cookie, or give a thoughtful homemade gift to your white chocolate-loving BAE (<— non-millennial translation: significant other), or for yourself (totally acceptable BAE), this is the stuff!
Homemade (Sugar Free) White Chocolate
- Put the melted coconut oil and cocoa butter in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the milk powder and sweetener until smooth and well combined.
- Whisk in the vanilla extract and the salt.
- Pour chocolate into molds.
- Transfer to the refrigerator to chill and set.
- If you want this to be dairy free, you can use coconut milk powder instead of dry milk powder.
- If you can't get powdered sweetener, you can use granulated. Look for as finely granulated a produce as you can find, and expect that there may be a little subtle grittiness to you chocolate if it doesn't melt completely (which some brands won't). It's not a deal breaker though - the chocolate will still be good either way!
- Before you put the chocolate into molds, taste it for sweetness. One of the things I hate about most commercial white chocolate is how sweet it is, so this is *not* very sweet by comparison.
- I used heart-shaped silicone chocolate molds, but if you prefer to make one larger bar, use this one instead.
- If you don't have chocolate molds, you can use mini loaf pans, but you need to lightly grease them first. To remove the chocolate, run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen, turn the loaf pan over and tap firmly on the base. The chocolate bar should pop right out.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Because this chocolate is so pure, and contains no emulsifiers or gums to hold its shape, you have to freeze it before you bake with it. Take it out of the freezer immediately before folding it into the batter, then pop whatever you're baking in the oven immediately. Freezing it gives the chocolate a snowball's chance in hell (literally) of holding it's shape during the baking process, because it will take longer to heat up to its melting point (ideally, it will take longer to get to its melting point than it will be in the oven, preventing it from liquefying and absorbing into the batter).
- Yield: Varies, depending on what mold you're using
- Replace the coconut oil in the recipe with cacao butter - so, use approximately 2/3 cup (1/3 cup + 2 oz) of cacao butter and no oil This is the cacao butter I use and recommend.
- Instead of putting the chocolate into molds to set, spread it in a thick layer on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. If you don't have that, use parchment paper.
- Once the chocolate is fully set, chop it into chunks. When you're chopping the chocolate, make the chunks bigger than you'd like them to be in the cookies. Since your chunks won't have any stabilizers in them like commercial chocolate chips or chunks do, there is some melting during baking. I usually make my chunks about 30% (that is not a scientific number, just an estimate!) larger than I want them to be in the finished cookie to account for the mass lost to melting during baking.